Lockdown – the word that has caused such a problem for businesses around the world. What can physical activity business do to utilise lockdown wisely?
As England enters into another monthly lockdown stint, and with restrictions heightening across the rest of Europe and some areas of the United States, the closing and pausing of business is something we’re having to deal with and adapt to.
In the weeks ahead it may feel like getting by is the only option, but taking charge of your choices and actions will help you meet your membership and customer needs in a profitable, considered manner that is as important to the long term as it is to surviving the here and now.
Thinking about your marketing strategy might seem irrelevant right now, whilst you react and firefight. However, a refined strategy can actually provide you MORE flexibility as you examine, explore and define your objectives and tactics.
We have no clue as to what your business is going through right now, but since you probably have a lot to contend with, we’re providing five key activities, as well as a bonus tip, to help ramp up your marketing during lockdown, even if your doors remain closed.
Why Ramp Up Marketing?
Whilst times are uncertain, and though it may seem counterintuitive to ramp up your marketing efforts during the uncertainties of lockdown, slowing your marketing will lose any traction or awareness you have previously built up.
There are plenty of strategies and opportunities to engage your audiences in new digital ways.
Even if you don’t have the time, resource or the funds available to go fully digital with your offering, there are other ways of using your lockdown time wisely that won’t break the bank, and will put you in good stead for reopening.
Improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
When lockdown is lifted and gyms, health clubs, leisure centres and sports coaching companies reopen their doors, it’s safe to say that many people will flock to the gym.
Alongside January’s usual ‘new me’ members, you’re likely to see a greater influx of people turning to getting fit, being active and staying healthy.
This is the time you really need to be coming up with ways to get those people in the door! Audit your website to make sure your site is performing as well as it can.
Topodium Group are currently offering FREE digital marketing health checks, analysing your website and digital marketing activities, and providing actionable insights for your business. If you’re a local business like a gym, leisure centre or health club, sports club or sports coaching company, then localised SEO will play an important role in your business being found in search engines.
Great Local SEO involves a few of these steps:
- Make sure you have a quality Contact, About and Home Page.
- Add a Google Map to your Contact Page so your audience can easily locate you.
- If you have multiple site locations add these to your Contact Page with each location’s business name, address and phone number.
- Phone numbers should be clickable on mobile.
- Set up and update your Google My Business listing and verify your website.
- Optimise your title tags and meta descriptions with localised keywords, e.g “Sports coaching in Basingstoke”, or “Swimming pool in York”.
- Create a local content strategy and publish original content using your keywords.
- Ask users to submit user-generated content such as reviews and testimonials to support your localised offering.
- Make sure your social media accounts are up to date with your addresses, CTAs and contact information.
Refresh your website
Your website is crucial to your online presence. Take the time to make sure your website is user-friendly and optimised to drive conversions – whether that’s sign ups, engagements, or downloads. Websites help your business appear in search engines, but they also provide destinations for potential customer touch points. An effective gym, health club or sports coaching company website includes:
- A branded domain name
- Well thought-out user flow
- An attractive, contemporary design
- Engaging content or digital experiences
- Clear call to action
By providing quality interactions on your website, whether that be in the form of a blog post, a video hub, or gamification of your offering, you can increase the additional value to your customers during this time.
Creating a website from scratch, or knowing how to evolve your existing website, can be a little overwhelming. Our expert website developers and web designers can help get you started and guide you on how to achieve a visually creative, conversion optimised website.
Revise your business strategy
As we hinted at in the opening of this blog post, focusing on your business strategy could seem unnecessary to some right now who are fighting to survive.
In the 2013 book Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works by A.G Lafley and Roger Martin, the duo warn of denying the long term. They caution against allowing “what is urgent to crowd out what is important” and add that, “Not only is strategy possible in times of tumultuous change, but it can be a competitive advantage and a source of significant value creation.”
By this very nature, your business can use lockdown to take stock and plan. For example, delving into what your customers require, analysing consumer trends, making positive budgetary decisions, and knowing what you will and won’t do, can help you achieve what your competitors cannot and give you a focus to engage and forge ahead for 2021.
If you require business strategy advice, grab a FREE Strategy Health Check with Topodium Group Co-Founder, Chris Sharman.
Update up your membership incentives and customer promotions
Right now, it’s all about adding additional value to your customer base.
You may not be able to rely on your usual revenue streams, so it’s time to get creative. Try out some new workout plans, live-streams, nutritional tips, 1 to 1 digital sessions or local offers to keep your customers engaged.
First, it’s important to understand what your members will appreciate the most right now. There’s no secret to this… Simply ask them!
It’s worth bearing in mind that people don’t just engage with your business for one simple reason (such as taking part in sports coaching, or working out at the gym) there’s also a whole host of other factors such as social connection, mental clarity, and fun to name a few! We created a list of great ideas and initiatives to explore:
- Offer a two-week free trial for new members
- If your customer base is predominantly businesses to business, then consider offering a corporate wellness package.
- Engage your members by offering a free one-week virtual pass when they leave a social media or Google review.
- Create a branded #hashtag fitness or activity challenge using user generated video content
- Create a hybrid package deal where your members can use tokens/credits to spend across virtual classes AND in-person classes when lockdown ends.
Communicate with your community
Lockdown is going to be challenging for many of us. One thing that your members and customers will appreciate is clear, consistent and informative communication. Be precise with your customer communication.
Utilise a social media management tool to schedule, approve/sign-off and centrally manage your communications across multiple pages, networks and groups. Our ToPost social media management tool comes with FREE access to Canva so you can design attention-grabbing, effective and beautiful creatives in minutes!
Don’t forget that many of your customers and members engage with your business for the social aspect. Create a virtual community where your members can interact, socialise and virtually meet up. Remember that you may not be providing your core services right now, but there’s no reason why you can’t still bring together your community. For some people, that social interaction may be the difference between feeling connected and isolation. (Not all of your members or customers will be digitally savvy, so consider how you reach out to them and include them in community building initiatives).
There is nothing wrong with or embarrassing about asking for help. Your customers and members are your loyal following, so reaching out to them for help and feedback is vital and shows a more human side to your brand.
Ask your members to support your community and venue by providing a small donation. It’s likely your members understand the important role you play within their community, but simply communicating the importance of physical activity and health during the pandemic can help your cause.
You could even gamify this in an app, on your website, or create a whole brand story on a dedicated landing page so your members are connected to your mission, as well as connected to your brand. The feeling of helping others is rewarding and contagious! By enabling the possibility to connect donations to your digital offering, you’ll enable your most loyal fans to support you during these difficult times.
What can we learn from lockdown?
With these easy-to-implement ideas, you will be able to keep the cash flow running in order to support those fixed costs and get you through this rough patch. If there’s one thing we can take away from lockdown it’s that ‘this too shall pass’.
Let us know how our team can help you by dropping us a message.
The article was written by Ryan Grimshaw, Head of Brand and Marketing for Topodium Group.